The people of Maspeth took this Memorial Day as an opportunity to send a special thanks to the many women who put it all on the line for their country.
This year’s theme, “Honoring women in the military,” added another shining chapter in the mid-Queens community’s proud tradition of Memorial Day festivities. A booming parade filled with community groups, elected officials, and residents made its way down Grand Avenue on the sunny Sunday afternoon and circled back to Maspeth Memorial Park for a ceremony commemorating the neighborhood’s heroes.
“It is for these women in the military, whether they are veterans or not, that we assemble today to thank them in some small way in our public display,” Sgt. Jack Hallahan, 69th Regt. Chaplain said to open up the ceremony. “So let us put ourselves in the presence of the God who made us all as we continue our expression of gratitude in the year for the women who served us in our country’s military.”
Laura Zimmerman, of the U.S. Army, served as guest speaker and spoke of the proud heritage women have serving in the military. She said it was a history that has not often been written about and deserved its due diligence.
“The actions taken by women who have supported our military have made the future for female soldiers must easier to face,” she said.
Kenneth Rudzewick of Maspeth Federal Savings Bank emceed the festivities, honoring the grand marshals of the day and giving thanks to the many community groups playing a role in the celebration. He gave a rousing introduction to both grand marshals of the day, Karen Burke and Leonard Masone, for their service to both Maspeth and the United States.
Burke, born and raised in Maspeth, has been an integral organizer in the community’s past Memorial Day parades and was celebrated Sunday as a proud wife, mother and neighbor. She has worked for over a decade with the United Veterans and Fraternal Organizations of Maspeth and has a son stationed in Virginia with the United States Navy.
Masone, another born-and-raised Maspeth native, has remained an active member and past president of the Maspeth Kiwanis Club and also serves as president of the Maspeth Kiwanis Foundation. His years of community service – whether it was through the Board of Maspeth Town Hall or as a member of the Maspeth Federal Savings Bank Board of Directors – were celebrated at Sunday’s ceremony.
“As you can see, Len has been a vital part of the Maspeth community,” Rudzewick said in the prepared statement. “He has committed his time and effort to help make our neighborhood a great place to work and live.”
By Phil Corso